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Monday, December 21

UTSA Boulevard: daily closures for drain structures

This is our window of opportunity.
With classes dismissed for Christmas at UTSA last week we have until January 8 to get a whole lot of drain structures set to cross the roadway. This work requires crews to close portions of the road, making for one-way traffic with flaggers controlling the flow of traffic for the next two weeks.
If this is your area, expect some delays on UTSA Boulevard. We'll be out of the way in time for the rush of students before spring term, and we won't be doing anything on Christmas or New Year's Day, but every other day expect to see us out there.
The work will be confined to that stretch between UTEX Boulevard and Edward Ximenes. If you can find a way around this area, we highly recommend doing so.
With the closures we'll be able to install storm drains crossing the road to get run-off away from the road and into Leon Creek, where the water flow is supposed to go. By knocking this out now crews will be able to tie these crossings into drain structures along the stretch of roadway we are expanding (more on that in a moment) while traffic continues to enjoy the old configuration it's currently in.
As for the final product, it'll be done in 2017. When finished the road will have two lanes in each direction with a center left-turn lane. We are also adding bike lanes and a "meandering sidewalk" multi-use path on the south side of the road.

Loop 1604 moving ahead of schedule

The news is simple: Williams Brothers Construction is running ahead of schedule on the Loop 1604 expansion between Bandera and Culebra roads, set for completion late 2016.
Though project bosses with WB are hesitant to say exactly how far ahead they are running, the truth is they are indeed running ahead of schedule. Drivers in the area should be able to use the new expressway lanes as early as this summer.
To help facilitate this fast-paced work WB will open the north-to-south turnaround at New Guilbeau this week (before Christmas). If you've not yet noticed, you'll see electricians installing and connecting the new traffic signals at that location. If the signals aren't operable by Christmas Eve, don't expect to see them turned on until January 3. These signals are critical to having the turnaround - and the full intersection, for that matter - opened at New Guilbeau.
By the way, when this intersection opens up the turnarounds north of Shaenfield will be closed.
After New Guilbeau is opened crews will really focus on getting the Shaenfield intersection opened up. Right now the guys calling the shots with WB say that will happen about a month after New Guilbeau is up and running.
What does this accomplish for everyone?
First it means drivers will be driving on fully functional frontage roads. This may come with some growing pains as crews time the signals for optimal traffic flow.
More importantly it means Williams Brothers will be free to finish working on the main lanes of the highway, including construction on the entrance and exit ramps. Most of this work is extremely weather-sensitive, so expect it to be slow going until the weather dries up for us and gets a little warmer.
Even with this constraint we could see a near-finished product this summer.
The new direct connector from southbound Loop 1604 onto eastbound Highway 151 - including the overpass of Hwy 151 over Loop 1604 - is on pace to be complete by the end of 2016. If this is part of your realm, you'll see the bridge crews from Braun, New Guilbeau and Shaenfield move to these structures in the very near future.

Be safe this season

Merry Christmas! Hanukkah Semaech! Happy Festivus!
Whatever it is you're celebrating this time of year, here's hoping your time is well-spent with family and friends.
During last year's holiday season (defined as the month-long stretch between December 1 and January 1) some 2,400 alcohol-related crashes occurred across the great state of Texas. Nearly 200 people were seriously injured. Even more ominous, 110 people lost their lives.
State-wide we saw an 8 percent increase in alcohol-related fatalities over 2013.
This is a problem we're seeing state-wide (and even more so locally) year-round: drunk or distracted driving is leading to deaths on our roadways. We even kicked off a social media event last month highlighting the fact we've had 15 full years without a fatality-free day on our highways. You might have seen the #EndTheStreakTX hashtag designed to promote awareness and bring safe driving to the forefront of our conversations.
For now, though, we're focused on making this holiday season fatality free. You may have already seen bits of our Plan While You Can campaign, featuring an interactive dodgeball game that uses custom gaming technology to replicate the effects of alcohol on a person’s reflexes. We'll be at La Cantera between 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) with the game - stop by and see us to play and get some sober-driving swag.
The campaign uses the #PlanWhileYouCan hashtag to encourage folks to find alternatives to drinking and driving. These alternatives are incredibly simple:
- Call a taxi
- Use a rideshare or other transportation app on your smartphone
- Use mass transit (VIA)
- Ask a sober friend or family member for a ride home (sober means someone who's not had a single drink!)
- Spend the night where you are
By the way ... we're asking you to join us in this online crusade. We're hosting a contest on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Create a post, tagging up to three friends, about your efforts to plan ahead with the #PlanWhileYouCan hashtag and you'll be entered to win a prize courtesy of one of our several corporate partners in this effort. While you don't have to follow us to qualify for the prize, you're certainly welcome to:
www.facebook.com/TxDOT
Twitter: @TxDOT
Twitter: @TxDOTSanAntonio
Instagram: @TxDOT
Nationwide a ton of catchy phrases abound to try reminding folks to do the safe and responsible thing this holiday season, but the absolute bottom line here is to make sure you do NOT drive after drinking. Also, if you're traveling, make sure it's someone NOT sitting in the driver's seat that does the navigating. When you're in the driver's seat, your only job is to drive. Let your passengers help navigate if needed. Let your passengers call loved ones or text friends to provide travel updates or to check on the status of those flights.
Let's have the greatest gift we can give this holiday season - the gift of time spent with loved ones. Do all you can to #PlanWhileYouCan and help us #EndTheStreakTX and enjoy the holidays and have a happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 15

Mail Bag: Kind words to TxDOT, Wurzbach Pkwy issues, questions about Lp 1604

Sorry for the dearth of responses over the last several weeks - bouncing between a number of issues with projects wrapping up and finishing, combined with the hectic schedule around the holidays, has made for a schedule challenging for blog posts like this. Please keep sending your questions and we'll get the best answers possible for them!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My drive to work (on Wurzbach) was still at 45 miles per hour but I went out at lunch and it was changed. There are those who will still go faster than 60 MPH, but at least I can feel safer. I appreciate your blog and followed it regularly for Wurzbach Parkway updates. I will continue to use for other construction updates. Thank you for the work you do for the citizens of San Antonio. It is appreciated.
- Anonymous
Thank you for lifting the speed limit on Wurzbach Parkway from N.W. Military Drive to Starcrest. What a difference it makes. I love this new expressway - it is clean, beautiful and I use it daily.
- Elizabeth
This note is from a happy traveler! Each time I travel on the Wurzbach Parkway it tickles me! After following the news items about the progress being made on its planning, building, and opening, I am delighted that it is complete and open for business! My congratulation to TxDOT on a job well done and thank you from someone who is tickled to enjoy traveling on it!
- Margie


Well ... thank you all for your kind words! We passed your compliments along to the folks responsible for the sign changes as well as for the project overall. They're always glad to hear a kind word!


Whomever came up with the idea to put the barrier up at northbound I-35 where I-35 and US 281 and I-37 all come together is a genius. That was a really bad spot in the morning as people coming from the lower level would shoot across two or three lanes of traffic in an attempt to reach Broadway or I-37. Thank you very much!
- Frank

Well thank you, Frank! Glad to do it. Sounds like the barrier is having its intended result! We aren't finished with that project yet, by the way; we still have a final surface of asphalt to lay down. That will not happen until a streak of warmer temperatures hits, though - likely this spring.


Just curious as to why 281 NB lanes between Nakoma and Bitters were configured as they are now. ... I am really hoping that with the opening of the Wurzbach Pkwy exit things will smooth out, but if not, would there be plans to re-stripe the roadway to get an exit only and possibly get things moving better?
- Mark


Mark, the opening of the Wurzbach Parkway exit should have smoothed everything out. Our apologies for the long-delayed response!
As for future plans ... what you see now is what you'll get moving forward. There is some added space out there. That will allow us to adjust the highway for growth in the future, if we should need to do so. That does, however, require federal approval as it involves adding capacity to the highway.


With the new interchange at Loop 1604 and US 281, the entrance ramp from the southbound US 281 access road to the southbound US 281 main lanes was relocated. Now everyone must go through the traffic light at Donella. This results in queues approaching a half-mile in length. ... Why can’t this intersection be made similar to the Super Street that US 281 was made into north of 1604? The overpass could be closed, turnarounds would remain open, and the signals removed. All traffic from entering Donella would be forced to travel either north or south to the next turnaround. This would greatly improve mobility in this area. Even better is that it would likely cost very little in capital costs.
- Travis


Interesting ideas; nothing we can definitively speak about at this point, Travis. We've passed the suggestion along to the folks with operations and with planning and design so they can add it to the list of suggestions to run through and determine feasibility and impact. Thanks!


Since the frontage roads between Ralph Fair and Fair Oaks Ranch will eventually become one way, are there plans to add a light at the intersection of Old Fredericksburg Road and Ralph Fair? Currently that section of Old Fredericksburg Road is closed for construction but once it reopens it is the only exit for people to go south to Ralph Fair. ... As more developers add to the Old Fredericksburg area, the congestion really backs up in the mornings. Thanks!
- Heidi

Heidi, at the risk of misunderstanding what's being asked, let us assure you the conversion of the frontage roads to one-way will not happen until the overpass at Old Fred Road and I-10 is finished and functioning. Until that point you'll have two-way access along the frontage roads on both sides of I-10 between Ralph Fair and Fair Oaks.
Once the new overpass is built and the frontage roads are converted we'll have a full-fledged intersection at Old Fred and I-10, eliminating the issue you've brought up with the Old Fred-Ralph Fair intersection being the "only exit" for people to use going south. The issue will, essentially, take care of itself.
In the interim, with the construction going on between Ralph Fair and Fair Oaks, we're aware an issue may arise again at your intersection. That said, we do not have plans to add a traffic signal. The biggest reason is proximity to the I-10 signals. We don't like, on TxDOT-controlled roads, to place signals in such close proximity (we are aware of the situation on Boerne Stage Road at HEB ... that is not a TxDOT-operated road).


Who can I contact about perhaps more barricades being placed on the 6300–6500 block of Tezel? Especially the middle turning lane.
- Yvonne


That request needs to go through the city of San Antonio - that project belongs to them.


Where exactly will there be an exit/entrance from 1604 to New Guilbeau Rd.?
- Maria


This is a situation where a picture is, quite honestly, worth a thousand words. So we won't waste any more words and just leave a picture (pro tip: click on the picture to be able to zoom in and see details):


My back fence is against the grassy area next to 1604 by potranco (outside the loop). I was told that my back fence was going to be replaced with a sound reducing fence due to the overpass planned. Can I have more info on this?
- Natalie


We are indeed including a sound wall at the Westcreek Oaks subdivision along the new southbound frontage road, just to the north of Potranco Road. This wall will be built on TxDOT right-of-way and will not replace fencing built on private property. Note a sound wall is a tall concrete wall; it's not going to be fancy. Function over form on this kind of thing.
Here's a look at the wall location, from our planning folks:
Construction on this project, which will extend the expressway of Loop 1604 through Potranco Road, will begin summer 2016. The project will take at least two and a half years to complete.


You've said that all the work is done now, and I know from reading here that the path from Northbound US 281 to westbound Wurzbach Parkway is to exit Bitters, turn around, and backtrack to Wurzbach. Why don't the signs say that? The only sign that tells drivers that ... is sign on the northbound frontage road of US 281 that says westbound Wurzbach is straight ahead (although the "WEST" portion is covered up for some reason). There is no sign telling drivers to turn around at Bitters (but there is a turn around sign for the opposite direction at Nakoma). Seems to me the most efficient 281 signage would be to turn the current Wurzbach Parkway exit into an eastbound Wurzbach Parkway exit and turn the Bitters Rd exit into an exit for both Bitters Rd and westbound Wurzbach Parkway (and add the turnaround sign approaching the intersection).
- Travis


Travis, we took this directly to our operations folks that handle signs. The Wurzbach exit has to stay the Wurzbach exit - intended to capture traffic for both directions of Wurzbach Parkway. It's the KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Silly. Fewer signs announcing Wurzbach Parkway (PA 1502) means fewer opportunities for confusion and problems.
At this point, however, these issues should be resolved. At the time you wrote in these were "punch-list" items - finalizing items the contractor needed to finish. That included removing the covering from the sign along the northbound frontage road to which you've referenced. What we should have in place on the northbound side of US 281 are:
- Three large main lane overhead sign boards
- Two white and green signs on the northbound frontage road
- Route markers per the TMUTCD
With crews wrapping all this up, some of the deficiencies you've pointed out should have been addressed already.

Friday, December 11

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Seguin
  • Monday-Tuesday, December 14-15. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Eastbound main lanes between Hwy 46 and Walnut Branch Creek. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, December 16-17. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Westbound main lanes between Walnut Branch Creek and Hwy 46. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Saturday-Monday, December 12-14. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between I-37 and I-410. The right lane will close while crews repair the pavement base.
I-10 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Wednesday, December 14-16. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound main lanes between Medical Drive and Huebner Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews stripe the roadway.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Current until January 2016. Exit ramps, both directions, to Eisenhauer Road. The ramps will close while crews build a new exit ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach Eisenhauer Road.
  • Current until January 2016. Northbound entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The ramp will close while crews build a new entrance ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 13-18. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 13-18. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 13-18. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Turnarounds, both directions, at Salado Creek. The turnarounds will be closed while crews do bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, December 14-18. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, December 14-18. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Turnarounds, both directions, at Salado Creek. The turnarounds will be closed while crews do bridge work.
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Monday-Thursday, December 14-17. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between U.S. 281 and North Walters Street. The inside two lanes will close while crews stripe the roadway. Please note the start time will be later on nights the Spurs play to accommodate traffic for the event.
I-37 – Atascosa County
  • Monday, December 14. 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Northbound main lanes between mile markers 96 and 99. Alternating lanes will close while crews shift traffic into its original configuration.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Current until May 2016. Westbound frontage road between Hunt Lane and East Kriewald. The frontage road will close while crews reconstruct the Medio Creek Bridge.
Loop 1604 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Friday-Saturday, December 11-12. 9 p.m. until noon. Southbound frontage road at Alamo Concrete Plant. The right lane will close while crews pour concrete for a driveway.
  • Monday-Thursday, December 14-17. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Shaenfield Road. The left lane will close while crews hang bridge support beams. Traffic will have two lanes.
  • Monday-Sunday, December 14-20. 10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between Culebra and Braun roads. The right lane will close while crews do curb work.
  • Wednesday-Friday, December 16-18. 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road at New Guilbeau Road. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday-Tuesday, December 21-22. 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road at New Guilbeau Road. The right lane will close while crews install traffic signal poles.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until December 2016. Westbound exit ramp to Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Current until December 2016. Eastbound entrance ramp from Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
Other roads – Converse
  • Friday-Monday, December 18-21. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. FM 1516, both directions, at Crestway. All lanes will close while crews reconstruct the roadway surface. Traffic will detour to I-10, Loop 1604 and FM 78. This is a change from a previously announced closure.
Other roads – Schertz
  • Monday-Friday, December 14-18. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 3009, both directions, between I-35 and FM 78. The right lane will close in each direction while crews do sidewalk work.
Other roads – Uvalde County
  • Monday, December 21. 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. State Highway 127 at the Frio River crossing in Concan. Full closures of the highway will be used for 25-minute increments while crews set bridge support beams. Traffic should expect long delays or seek an alternate route.
Other roads – Southwest San Antonio
  • Wednesday, December 16. 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Southwest Military Drive (state Loop 13) between South Zarzamora Street and Somerset Road. All lanes will close at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing while crews with Union Pacific work on the crossing area. Traffic will use South Zarzamora Street, West Mayfield Boulevard, Wabash Street and Somerset Road to reach its destination.
All closures are pending weather.

Friday, December 4

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Downtown
  • Monday-Friday, December 7-11. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Eastbound frontage road between North Brazos Street and north Colorado Street. The left lane will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Current until January 2016. Exit ramps, both directions, to Eisenhauer Road. The ramps will close while crews build a new exit ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach Eisenhauer Road.
  • Current until January 2016. Northbound entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The ramp will close while crews build a new entrance ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 6-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 6-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, December 6-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Turnarounds, both directions, at Salado Creek. The turnarounds will be closed while crews do bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, December 7-11. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, December 7-11. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Turnarounds, both directions, at Salado Creek. The turnarounds will be closed while crews do bridge work.
I-410 – Southwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, December 7-11. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between I-35 and Medina Base Road. The left lane will close while crews install guardrail.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Friday, December 9-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Ingram and Culebra roads. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Current until May 2016. Westbound frontage road between Hunt Lane and East Kriewald. The frontage road will close while crews reconstruct the Medio Creek Bridge.
U.S. Hwy 281 – South Bexar County
  • Saturday-Sunday, December 5-6. 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound exit to Wurzbach Parkway. The ramp will close while crews do road work. Traffic will use the Nakoma Drive exit to reach eastbound Wurzbach Parkway. Traffic will use Bitters Road exit and turn around to reach westbound Wurzbach Parkway.
Loop 1604 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Saturday, December 5. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Southbound entrance ramp from Shaenfield Road. The right lane will close while crews repair guardrail.
  • Sunday-Sunday, December 7-13. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Culebra and Braun roads. The right lane will close while crews install sidewalk. Two lanes will remain open for travel during this closure.
  • Sunday-Sunday, December 7-13. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Alamo Ranch Parkway. The left lane will close while crews build bridge support structures.
  • Sunday-Sunday, December 7-13. 10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Braun and Culebra roads. The right lane will close while crews do curb work.
  • Sunday-Sunday, December 7-13. 10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between Culebra and Braun roads. The right lane will close while crews do curb work.
  • Thursday-Friday, December 10-11. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road at Shaenfield. The left lane will close while crews do road work. Traffic will be restricted to two lanes.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, December 6-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound main lanes between Military Drive and Potranco Road. The right lane will close while crews set barrier. This work will result in the long-term closure of the exit ramp for Potranco and Ingram roads. Traffic will exit I-410 and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
Other roads – Converse
  • Friday-Monday, December 11-14. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. FM 1516, both directions, at Crestway. All lanes will close while crews reconstruct the roadway surface. Traffic will detour to I-10, Loop 1604 and FM 78.
Other roads – New Braunfels
  • Friday-Wednesday, December 4-9. 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Walnut Avenue between Landa and Wood. Alternating lanes will close creating one-way traffic scenarios while crews reconstruct the roadway. Traffic will use Lockenor or Laurel to reach its destination.
  • Tuesday-Friday, December 8-11. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 306, both directions, between Hunter Road and Hoffman Lane. Alternating lanes will close while crews install drain structures. One-way traffic control will be employed during this work.
Other roads – Schertz
  • Monday-Friday, December 7-11. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 3009, both directions, between I-35 and FM 78. The right lane will close in each direction while crews do sidewalk work.
Other roads – North-central San Antonio.
  • Saturday, December 5. 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Eastbound Wurzbach Parkway between West Avenue and U.S. Highway 281. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will exit U.S. 281, travel south to Nakoma, turn around then re-enter Wurzbach Parkway.
All closures are pending weather.
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